Saturday, August 16, 2014

Avalon Chronicles #32: "The Good Life"


Ecclesiastes 3:13 "And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God." (KJV)

     Last weekend I journeyed to the northeast to visit my younger daughter, her husband, and two grandchildren. Friday we drove to Hershey, PA to enjoy Hershey Park for the day. Enjoy is too mild a word to describe the experience. The exuberance, wonder, and simple joy exhibited by young children is indeed a sight to behold. All over the park were young families, grey-headed grandparents (with me in that group), young couples, teenagers, all partaking in "the good life" for the day. The smells of chocolate permeated from the shops, the tastes of many delicacies were satisfied over and over again, and the sounds of thrills on the roller coasters were always in the background. All walks of life and styles of clothing were evident and cute little children clinging closely to older siblings or parents were constantly in view. For the day it definitely was "the good life" in America, our special and "exceptional" place on this planet in the August sun and I drank it in in big gulps.
     At my daughter's church on Sunday the pastor's topic was "the good life." He made reference to the above quote from Ecclesiastes, written by King Solomon. In my King James Life Application Study Bible (Tyndale House Publishers) the book's introduction states, "Grasping the sweet things-possessions, experience, power, and pleasure-they find nothing inside. Life is empty, meaningless...and they despair." Hershey Park that day and definitely for me was a place of pure pleasure, full and meaningful with no despair evident. The attendees with the admission charges, vendors, and numerous places of culinary delights were enjoying the good of someone's labor and it was all "the good life." The end of the day for all could have been nothing but full of peace and contentment. It was a day when I marveled at this example of America's "exceptionalism" in a purely physical environment. The pastor and Solomon, "...affirms(ed) the value of knowledge, relationships, work, and pleasure; but only in their proper place. All of these temporal things in life must be seen in the light of the eternal."
     Eventually at the end of the day for sure and always in life, the tastes are no more, the squeals of delight of the children are quieted, the bright lights are turned off, and the carousel stops its circling. For many life is meaningless. But, for those of us who know that Jesus is the Son of God, who entered our physical world two thousand years ago, we can partake fully in all these fleeting pleasures knowing that eternity awaits us. Perhaps in Heaven God will provide carousels and Hershey Kisses if those are important any longer.
     We finished the day at the water park area where I patiently waited while my daughter and her children lazily floated on inner tubes around a water way. By myself my eyes took in the peace, tranquillity, and enjoyment before my eyes, but my mind wandered to the order by the president the night before to provide humanitarian aid to the thousands of minority Iraqis besieged by the fanatics to reestablish their caliphate by means of barbaric terror. The contrasts with my eyes and the thoughts in my mind were unsettling. Ecclesiastes 3:2 states, "A time to be born, and a time to die,..." Park attendees that day were born to revel in the well-deserved pleasures of that oasis. Also that day for some it was a time to die in all the strife and warfare all over the rest of the world. My prayer is that sometime somewhere all that feel that "the good life" goes on forever will recognize that it is ephemeral and that by ensuring their place in eternity with its lasting "existence"  is the only "forever" there can truly be.

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